Photo of the Day #22: White-Tailed Deer


Most of the wildlife photographs I feature here were taken at zoos, but every once in a while I get a chance to photograph some indigenous creatures, White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) being the only relatively large mammal in the area. In fact, New Jersey has an overabundance of the deer, and it's strange to drive late at night and not see at least one along the side of the road (or even trying to cross it). While there were always deer here, they owe much of their population growth in the last 200 years to human development of land, especially the clearing of forests for lawns or open areas in the past 100 years, the deer now having a year-round supply of food and no major predators throughout most of the state.

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I used to live in Appalachia where white tails enjoyed lawns, especially golf course greens. Then I moved to the Left Coast and got used to mule deer. In your picture, to my eye, the ears look comically dwarfed.

Most of the wildlife photographs I feature here were taken at zoos...

That's a wonderful quote! That's why we take so many pictures of insects. They're easier to find.

Very true, Sandra. I actually have an excellent close-up of a butterfly I took over a year ago, as well as some other misc. insect pics, but unfortunately with the cold weather that's set in I don't think I'll get too many invert pictures until things warm up again. Still, I should spend a little more time paying attention to and photographing smaller organisms instead of always going after the charismatics.

It certainly is easier to find insects, I've found over 75 distinct species just in the basement and on window screens around the house in the last year (and have the photographs to prove it!). It's a heck of a lot easier to get them to hold still than, say, white-tailed deer or bears, too.

You folks get deer. In my country, the native deer species have been extinct for a long time, and the largest wildlife comes in the form of roaming troops of long-tailed macaques that can become quite a nuisance, especially since people just can't seem to resist feeding them.

Oh, we do have reticulated pythons and Malayan water monitors roaming around though, but these tend to be very shy.